Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages

Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages

English is the world language, except that most of the world doesn't speak it--only one in five people does. Dorren calculates that to speak fluently with half of the world's 7.4 billion people in their mother tongues, you would need to know no fewer than twenty languages. He sets out to explore these top twenty world languages, which range from the familiar (French, Spani English is the world language, except that most of the world doesn't speak it--only one in five people does. Dorren calcu...

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Title:Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages
Author:Gaston Dorren
Rating:
Genres:Nonfiction
ISBN:0802128793
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:361 pages pages

Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages Reviews

  • Mitch
    Jan 31, 2019
    Some interesting chapters, but many chapters are unintersting and appear to be research notes. Some chapters are well researched and others are remarkably close to a book report or synopsis of someone else's work. ...
  • Melissa
    Dec 06, 2018
    I very much enjoyed Lingo (Dorren?s tour through 60!languages of Europe) and so was definitely looking forward to Babel, where Dorren does a deep-dive into the 20 most-spoken languages of the world. What?s nice about Dorren?s writing is the way he constructs each chapter to serve...
  • Sarah
    Jan 20, 2019
    This falls in the category of books that should have been a podcast series. Linguist Dorren, examines the world's top 20 languages in order of number of speakers. The list can be divided into widely known languages such as Chinese, Russian, Spanish, and English to the lesser known ones...
  • Kirsten
    Feb 10, 2019
    Books about lots of languages are right up my alley, so that?s good. But this book is highly uneven. If the chapters had been a little more parallel, it would have been much improved. Still, I did learn a lot and enjoyed it. ...
  • Tyler Simonds
    Jan 17, 2019
    Brilliant idea. I probably tried to read it too quickly, though. Here are a couple things I?ve learned... 4 out of 5 people don?t speak English. Also, language learning can?t happen very well by video. Something special happens when you observe and interact with a person in real ...
  • Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
    Oct 07, 2018
    Books about English language, such as those by John McWhorter and David Crystal are some of my favorites, and I also like the "deep dive" into other languages, such as the books about French and Spanish by Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau. Then there's the books that dip a toe into ...
  • Keshav
    Mar 16, 2019
    The book is written to highlight quirks instead of being an academic text that explores structurally (or in some other fashion) why the 20 must spoken languages in the world are these. Along the way the author drops engaging and striking tid-bits like the politics associated with Tamil...
  • Bandit
    Sep 25, 2018
    Babel was supposed to be a great linguistic adventure. Around the world in 30 languages Sounds exciting, doesn?t it. And I do have a serious interest in linguistics, so it seemed right up my alley. Until it wasn?t. At least, not quite what was expected. It?s a literary equivalent...
  • mia moraru
    Jan 09, 2019
    fascinating. complex. instead of satiating my desire for language learning...a tenfold increase ...
  • Kristy
    Jan 18, 2019
    I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Overall I found this to be an interesting read. 3.75 stars. Some other reviewers have complained that some sections are too technical for non-linguists, but I disagree. I have no training in linguistics and am, at best, a rank amateur i...
  • Mandy
    Dec 07, 2018
    If you love words, you?ll love this, and if you love languages, then you?ll love it even more. Dorren takes the 20 languages with the most speakers ? out of the estimated 6000 languages that exist in the world today ? and explores their origins and peculiarities. The expected o...
  • Stacy Renee  (LazyDayLit)
    Jan 22, 2019
    I've been slowly reading through this for the past month or so. Languages are a personal addiction of mine at the moment so this was exactly what I was looking for. Will write a full review soon! Plus, that image in the Russian chapter! Can't stop laughing. I originally shared...
  • David
    Jan 19, 2019
    Pretty nearly perfect reading for a nerd like me, as it turns out. Could be a good read for fans of Atlas Obscura. I saw a review of this just before Xmas, so when the inevitable question came ("what do you want..."), this was on my list. Hopefully some publisher is feeling justified r...
  • Debra
    Feb 06, 2019
    Dry but very informative and well researched. ...
  • Jeff
    Dec 12, 2018
    A look at the 20 most spoken languages in the world, through 20 (21, really) essays about topics related to those languages. Some of these essays will be more engaging than others, depending on your interests. While I was less interested in the author's personal anecdotes about his...
  • Katie
    Dec 07, 2018
    Babel is an ambitious undertaking by linguist Gaston Dorren to explore the top twenty languages spoken in the world from the #20 to #1 spoken language (in which this review is written). As a native English speaker who has difficulty becoming more than monolingual, I enjoyed learning ne...
  • Yvonne (It's All About Books)
    Nov 24, 2018
    Finished reading: November 25th 2018 *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Atlantic Monthly Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! *** (view spoiler)[ Some of you might already know I'm actually a philologist and linguistics has ...
  • Rizwan
    Feb 06, 2019
    Definitely interesting book. Learnt something new with most chapters, others were a bit disappointing. ...
  • Jessica Terry
    Feb 22, 2019
    I look at the quality of this book with two lenses. First, from a writer's perspective I found this book a little odd. It lacked a set structure from chapter to chapter. For example, one chapter may talk solely about the history of the language and its cultural implications, while the ...
  • Lizzy
    Feb 07, 2019
    Engaging to read. Each chapter tells something different and unique about that language, and language in general. Highly recommend. ...
  • Tamar
    Dec 28, 2018
    Basically an introduction to linguistics through the lens of the 20 most spoken languages today. An excellent read that helped clear up a lot of questions I had about other languages, especially Mandarin! ...
  • Nóri Goreczky
    Oct 26, 2018
    As an amateur language enthusiast/wannabe polyglot, a book like this is heaven for me. I?m constantly in the mood for starting to learn a new language, and then I never actually do it, but I have plans, you see. Before reading this book, my plans were, in a nutshell: touch up (basica...
  • Christine H
    Feb 04, 2019
    Took an interesting subject and made it boring. ...
  • Dan Ust
    Jan 04, 2019
    Reads more like a collection of mostly unrelated articles each on a different language. On the plus side, I learned a lot ? even about languages I knew something about already. But the book lacks overall coherence... making it feel more like a jumble. This goes all the way throug...
  • The Captain
    Dec 10, 2018
    Ahoy there me mateys! I received this non-fiction eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . . Even though English is the "world language," the fact of the matter is that most of the world doesn't speak it. This book explores the ide...
  • Esther Espeland
    Jan 29, 2019
    This book was fun! 3.5 stars. Great introduction for those curious abt linguistics but don?t want to commit to a weightier text! Nice short chapters abt 20 most spoken languages, and each chapter follows a different theme, some hokier than others ...
  • Karla Winick-Ford
    Feb 08, 2019
    Interesting linguistics book with some amazing facts and caveats ...
  • Anastasia
    Jan 06, 2019
    I was excited to be reading this book. It introduced many linguistic concepts with which I was not familiar ?from differences in writing systems, scripts, tonality and so on; it prompted sporadic research (that admittedly didn?t go further a Wikipedia page) on more interesting topi...
  • Mike Swain
    Apr 08, 2019
    Generally quite interesting, but the author tends to go off on long tangents, and a lot of the material seems misplaced or irrelevant to the chapter. ...
  • Natalie
    Dec 16, 2018
    I was a huge fan of Dorren's first book, Lingo, and this one does not disappoint. Each chapter explores a concept related to one of the "Babel" languages, twenty languages one would have to know to speak to half the world. Each chapter is different from the last, covering a wide variet...